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David Bowler Wine (my employer) had their annual spring portfolio tasting at Tribeca Grill yesterday and the turnout was good, especially considering the current climate in New York. It is tough selling Burgundies these days, but we brought out some of our big ticket items. Before the doors opened, I ran around to taste a couple of the more expensive and limited wines. F.X Pichler is perhaps the top domaine in Austria and it certainly is falls into the category of cult winery.  The Gruner Veltliner, Smaragd, Kellerberg, 2007 was really impressive for its power and depth, but I have been quickly losing my interest in this grape variety. More my style was the profound F.X. Pichler, Riesling, Smaragd, Hollerin, 2007. Hollerin is not one of the domaine’s top sites, but it was incredibly aromatic and complex. The wine was vibrant, intense and perfectly balanced on the palate.

Francois Servin, of Domaine Servin in Chablis, was pouring several of his 2007’s and was very happy with the vintage. He did express, however, that he was initially concerned that the critics would find the vintage to be too elegant after the more the powerful 2005s and 2006s. That has not turned to be the case as Allen Meadows raved about the vintage in his most recent report. Servin produces a cuvee called Les Pargues from a vineyard that was once classified as a premier cru. This village bottling was very floral and showed nice minerality in the mouth. The Preuses does not see any oak and is raised entirely in steel, which results in a very fine, precise wine. More powerful and reserved is the Les Clos, which is made 100% in oak. Although it was overshadowed by Preuses at this early stage, the Clos seems to have the potential to be an even greater wine.

Now that my palate was warmed up, I tasted the 2006 Clos des Lambrays. I sampled this wine out of barrel and was very impressed with it at the time. The wine was very pretty and refined, but rather light compared to recent vintages. I really like the style of wine that the Clos des Lambrays produces, but I can see why some people claim the wines are not concentrated enough to be grand crus. Bernard Dugat’s wines, on the other hand, are never accused of lacking concentration. The 2006 Dugat-Py, Gevrey-Chamebertin, Coeur du Roy was very dark and brooding. The wine had a strong tannic backbone, but it possessed a nice core of concentrated fruit. I recently tasted a ’98 and ’99 from the domaine and both were similarly tannic, but they had almost no fruit. It appears that Bernard has improved the balance of his wines in recent vintages,

Customers were starting to trickle into the room, so I headed to my station, which could have been called the Burgschnauzer Direct Import table. I was pouring the wines from Jean-Claude Bachelet and Alain Jeanniard, two domaines I had a role in discovering. The wines showed really well, but I found myself eyeing the table to my right. I asked a fellow co-worker to take my place for a minute and sprinted away. I started with two 2006 premier cru Puligny-Motnrachets from Domaine Chavy-Martin (Alain Chavy), the Champ Gain and the Folatieres. Both wines were outstanding, but they were just the opening act. Two vintages of Domaine Thenard’s Montrachet were hidden below the table. The 2006, though young, was very rich and had an incredibly long finish. Although very nice, the 1999 was rather average and did not distinguish itself as a Montrachet. Thenard is based in Givry and makes an excellent wine from the premier cru named Clos Saint Prierre. The 2005 was poured alongside the 1995 and while the former was impressively endowed, the 1995 stood out for its complexity. Several 2006s from Drouhin-Laroze were also on the table and the star was the Bonnes Mares. When first opened it was very hard and tannic, but had become much sweeter and expressive when tasted five hours later.

I had to skip the post-tasting party in order to make it home to pick-up my daughter, but I made a quick stop by my favorite coffee shop (Telegraphe) on the way back to Penn Station. I needed a few minutes to unwind. The tasting had been really busy and I spent nearly five hours straight pouring wines. Of course, I had to deal with a couple people who almost drove me to violence. One young lady insisted that the wide, robustly shaped Jeanniard bottles were obscene. She also questioned how a domaine such as Jean-Claude Bachelet could justify charging so much for a Saint-Aubin. And then she inquired as to how much residual sugar was in the Chassagne-Montrachet. Thank God I did not have to go very far to get a drink.

 


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